The No. 18 ranked NAIA Division II Statesmen of William Penn University brought a 9-3 record to Keeter Gymnasium on Tuesday night, but fell to the College of the Ozarks Bobcats by a score of 97-90.
The first half found College of the Ozarks in control early on, leading by as many as 11 with less than 11 minutes to play in the first half, but William Penn nibbled away at the lead to close out the first half--down only 2 points to the Bobcats.
Upon returning to the court, the Bobcats again took a commanding 15 point lead with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Once again, the Statesmen closed the gap, drawing to within one point at the 9:10 mark and eventually taking the lead, 73-72, with 7 ½ minutes left to play. The Bobcats managed to regain the lead until the 2:20 mark, when the game was once again tied, and with one minute remaining, William Penn had a one point advantage. A drive to the basket by Pete Leonard with 43.7 seconds to go gave the Bobcats a one point edge over WPU, and the ‘Cats managed to hang on for a 97-90 victory.
The game was fraught with fouls and turnovers—WPU committing 29 fouls and 17 turnovers, while C of O posted 17 personal fouls and 21 turnovers. Both teams posted field goal percentages in the mid 40’s, while C of O held the advantage 44% to 29% in 3-pointers. Key to the game was the 26 of 37 free throws made by the Bobcats compared to William Penn’s 8 of 13.
College of the Ozarks stat leaders included: Derek Daniels (22 points), Ethan Murray (20 points), and Cameron Paschke (18 points); Nathan Reid grabbed 10 rebounds, and Alex Santiago posted 4 steals. William Penn leaders featured Alec Schwab (23 points) and Oliver Wells (20 points); Shane Bosek-8 rebounds; and Mike Aldeman-3 steals. Kelly Madison provided four 3-point shots, adding 19 points to the team’s total.
The Bobcats record now stands at 6-3, while the Statesman move to 9-4. The Bobcats will play again at home on Tuesday, December 9th, when they face Highway 65 rival Evangel University at 7:00 PM.